Apple Music tops 20 million subscribers

Apple Music has passed the 20 million subscriber mark a year and a half after its launch, Billboard reports. Apple SVP of Internet Software and Products Eddy Cue said 60 percent of those subscribers haven’t bought music from iTunes in the last year, signaling a new era where streaming is becoming the new normal. Cue said offering exclusives is a big part of that, with the company giving a particular push to hip-hop acts that he felt were “underrepresented both in iTunes and in the streaming chart.” “We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1,” Cue said “Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before.”
The company has seen some pushback from labels over its exclusives—particularly Universal, which banned the deals after getting burned by Frank Ocean’s arrangement with Apple—but Cue said the deals “work really well for everybody concerned” and will continue “where appropriate.” And while Apple still trails competitor Spotify by 20 million subscribers and faces new entrants into the streaming business like Amazon and iHeartRadio, Cue is bullish on the potential for Apple Music’s expansion. “We can’t forget that, as an industry, we still have very few music subscribers. There are billions of people listening to music and we haven’t even hit 100 million subscribers,” Cue said of the music streaming industry as a whole. “There’s a lot of growth opportunity.”